We are prepared for the worst of the predictions

We are continuing to monitor the changing weather forecasts and are prepared for the worst of the predictions.

Mutual assistance personnel from Alabama and Georgia began to arrive yesterday and additional personnel are arriving today to assist with restoration efforts. In addition to our internal crews, we have mobilized 400 mutual assistance personnel and they will be assigned as needed across PHI’s three service territories. We have about 450 overhead line contractors and about 300 tree contractors already working on our system who are prepared for storm restoration work. Our Call Centers are staffed and operational 24 hours a day through this event.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Washington Metropolitan Area through this evening. Weather forecasts predict snow accumulations from 5 to 10 inches through the Pepco region with wind gusts of up to 35 mph. A Winter Storm Warning means there is also a potential for significant sleet and/or ice. We are preparing for the possibility of widespread outages, and we ask our customers to prepare now as well.

Heavy, wet snow, ice, and high winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines to cause power outages. Heavy rain and oversaturated soil can allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.

Customers are asked to please report any outages and stay away from any down wires. To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-737-2662, follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Call Centers are staffed and operational 24 hours a day through this event. Outages also may be reported on our website or through our mobile app.

For more information and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect.

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Mutual Assistance Crews Arriving Ahead of Storm

We are closely monitoring the changing forecasts and preparing for the worst of the predictions. Mutual assistance crews from Alabama and Georgia have begun to arrive.  We have requested over 300 mutual assistance crews for the storm restoration effort.

We have more than 450 overhead line contractors already working on the system and available, along with over 300 tree contractor crews actively performing reliability enhancement tree trimming work, in addition to preparing for restoration work.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Washington Metropolitan Area from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. Weather forecasts are still changing, but some predict snow accumulations of about a foot through the Pepco region with wind gusts of up to 35 mph. A Winter Storm Watch means there is also a potential for significant sleet and/or ice.

Heavy, wet snow, ice, and high winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines to cause power outages. Heavy rain and oversaturated soil can cause trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.

Customers are asked to please report any outages and stay away from any down wires. To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-737-2662, follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Call Centers are staffed and operational 24 hours a day through this event. Outages also may be reported through our website or through our mobile app.

For more information and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and download our mobile app.

Thank you to our customers

On June 29, the violent, fast-moving derecho storm tore through states from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic, leaving in its wake a 700-mile trail of death and destruction, including 34 fatalities, and significantly impacted more than four million customers. At its peak, the storm left more than 450,000 Pepco customers without power, and a state of emergency was declared in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.

Damage from the derecho stormWe understand the hardship and inconvenience of living without electricity, as caused by the storm, and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for your patience and understanding as more than 3,000 personnel including Pepco forces, and mutual assistance crews worked to restore power. The storm caused significant damage to our critical infrastructure, which needed to be rebuilt prior to restoring power to customers. The restoration effort involved replacing almost 300 utility poles and almost 200 transformers – a significant amount more than what was replaced after Hurricane Irene in 2011. After rebuilding infrastructure, crews focused on restoring power to critical health and safety facilities, and then on restoring homes and businesses.

Yet, even with all of the destruction, Pepco restored power to 90% of customers by midnight on July 4, more than 48 hours before our original estimate. We reached 100% restoration just before dawn on Sunday, July 8. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, more than 100,000 customers were still without power at that time in other parts of Maryland and nearby states.

In September 2010, Pepco committed $910 million over five years to improving our reliability. In the almost two years since we began that work, we’ve trimmed over 4,000 miles of trees, enhanced 144 power lines and replaced more than 500 miles of underground cable. Customers served by upgraded power lines experienced a 39% reduction in the average number of power outages of normal day-to-day service during 2011 as compared to 2010, and when outages did occur, they were shorter in duration, declining on average by 56% compared to 2010. Today, we are strong and more reliable – but no amount of strengthening to our system could have withstood a storm of this magnitude.

Again, we sincerely thank you for your patience. I would also like to thank customers who took time to show their gratitude – shaking crew members’ hands, and leaving them notes, water and Popsicles, and even sending emails or handwritten thank you notes to the company. We will continue to enhance our reliability, work hard to restore power when storms come again, and keep our customers informed of our progress every step of the way.

Tom Graham
President, Pepco Region